SAN ANTONIO – As the nation pauses to honor Flag Day, News 4 WOAI highlights a local man who treasures Old Glory every day of the year.
His love for a waving American flag is infectious, spreading throughout his neighborhood, Olmos Park.
From street signs to fences, there she is: Old Glory.
It’s a safe bet that nearby you’ll find Sanford Grossman – better known as the Flagman.
"Make sure it's rolled up properly,” he says while hanging a flag from a fence. “Never let it touch the ground. That’s all there is too it, really.”
Fifteen years ago he turned an idea into an institution.
"I start in January,” the Flagman says. “It goes up MLK Day. Then I get a three-month rest until Memorial Day. And then Flag Day. Then I rest for two months until Labor Day. And then 9/11. And then Columbus Day. And then Thanksgiving. And then Pearl Harbor Day. And that's it for the year."
He makes it sound so simple. But each holiday, it takes two hours to put the flags up and another two to take them down.
"I don't know of anywhere else where anybody does that,” Olmos Park postal worker Daniel Welch says.
The flagman buys all the flags himself. The only help he gets is from Olmos Park firefighters who install the mounts.
"Finds out exactly where they need to be and then he goes and puts a little piece of green masking tape where he wants the bracket to be,” Olmos Park Fire Chief Linc Surber says.
The Flagman says he’s a patriot serving his country at home because he couldn’t on a battlefield.
"I was born in the later years of the depression, 1937, so I missed World War Two,” he says. “Missed Korea. Was too old for Vietnam. So the least I can do is put these flags up."
Nearly 100 flags per holiday – an admirable feat on 75-year-old legs the Flagman hopes hold out a little while longer.
"They call Olmos Park City Hall. Who does that? I get letters from all over the country,” he says. “There's not a single community in the country that puts up more flags than Olmos Park. That's a great satisfaction. I put Olmos Park on the map."
It’s a patriotic labor of love Olmos Park would love to see continue for years to come, so city leaders are looking for someone else to eventually take up the post of flagman and continue the legacy.